Fundamental shifts in financial management needed in 'next normal': report

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Paul Howell
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Financial Services

83% needed to do financial planning and budgeting at least twice a year, according to a new survey.

Over four in five (83%) Singapore finance professionals need to do financial planning and budgeting at least two or more times in the year, to ensure their organisations remain agile and are able to adapt to the fast-changing business environment, according to a recent report by software company Workday.

The report comes almost one year on from when Singapore first imposed its circuit breaker measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In comparison, over half (54%) did financial planning and budgeting only on an annual basis before the COVID-19 pandemic, where budgets were traditionally set out at the start of the year and adhered to throughout the twelve-month period.

Workday also found that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the top concerns for Singapore finance professionals were cost containment (78%), supplier risk management (61%), and revenue projection (56%).

“With so much emphasis placed on continuity planning for many organisations during the pandemic, it is unsurprising that there is an urgent need to contain costs and ensure that business revenue is not disrupted through supply chain issues,” it said.

Finance professionals are starting to shift their priorities to address a technology acceleration gap as they go on life after COVID-19, with finance digital transformation (71%), new driver-based models for scenario planning (65%), and cash and liquidity management (62%) now the top priorities for many organisations.

“One year on from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Singapore, many organisations are looking towards the future and preparing for recovery. However, there are still risks ahead for finance leaders who want to drive growth in a new world, but may still hold on to an old-world mentality towards financial management for their business,” Workday CFO practice lead for Asia Lee Thong Tan said.

Meanwhile, 81% say AI and machine learning will be the most impactful technologies for finance in the future, followed by centralising IT support/software integration (80%) and mobile platform capabilities (75%).

The technologies are in line with Singapore’s transformation initiatives outlined in its recent 2021 budget, which saw $24b allocated over the next three years to help businesses innovate and build capabilities in 5G, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.